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Johannes Marian: 3 October 2006

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Live Act(s): Johannes Marian
Event Date: 3 October 2006
Type of Event: Theatre Event
Venue: Austrian Cultural Forum NYC (@)
Rated: *****
On this night, my parents from Europe were in town and, since I know they are into classical music, I figured I'd take them to a solo piano concert at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City. Little did I know that I was gonna enjoy it more than they did and that it was actually material worth of a review in this magazine!I had never beed to the ACF. Beautiful wooden venue with a small balcony that offers great sound and greater view than you get from the front row!Viennese pianist, composer and teacher, Johannes Marian has been focusing his performance work on interpretations of pieces by composers of our time and this NY concert was a sample of that. The selection of contemporary material encompassed: US-born Tom Johnson's work of sequential and exponential minimalistic music; Austrian Friedrich Cerha's serial techniques made of tapestry of seemingly randomly placed notes and nostalic compositions reminiscent of his Slovakian/Hungarian relatives; and finally, also from Austria, Georg Nussbaumer, whose 'sonic installations' (a term which is more suitable than 'compositions') are known to be made of machines, inorganic, organic material, visual support and even living animals. This was definitely the concert's most interesting part to look at (also very interesting sonically). Nussbaumer's very recent piece "Birding Guide" aims at highliting and conceptualizing the similarities between the piano and the winged feather animals, so the piece actually consists of piano strings being plucked by bird feathers and bird skulls while the instrument's open-pedalled mid to low register strings vibrate due to the induced motion of half a dozen eggs rumbling and rattling on top of them. Very fascinating indeed!Unfortunately I had to rescue my poor parents so I missed the second set, which included pieces by Christoph Herndler (you guessed it! yet another Austrian!), whose scores look more like modern art, rather than notes on a pentagram; and American Morton Feldman a famously prolix intuitive-based composer active between the 50es and the 80es; friend and pupil of John Cage.

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